Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cloze Sentences

Although this cloze sentence activity is a staple of a CI/TPRS classroom, I did not begin to use it until this semester (and quite honestly, I did not learn of it until this past summer at NTPRS). It is a great post-reading activity, but it needs to be done only after students have reviewed/gone over the story many times, because it is a limited output activity and will require them to recall vocabulary in the story (and possibly language structures, depending on how you use this).

The set up is basic: 

  1. Using a story which you have been reading and reviewing with students, project the story onto the board with words missing (like you would see in any cloze sentence exercise)
  2. Read each sentence aloud, and ask students to give you the missing word aloud.
  3. Write in the missing word.
Latin 1 example:

Ian puellam videt. puella est pulchra. Ian puellam amat. Ian dicit, “O puella, salve! mihi nomen est Ian. quid nomen tibi est?” puella dicit, “salve, Ian. mihi nomen est Go Away!”
Ian est tristis. Ian aliam (another) puellam videt. puella est pulchra. Ian puellam amat. Ian dicit, “O puella, salve! mihi nomen est Ian. quid nomen tibi est?”puella dicit, “salve, Ian. mihi nomen est You Are Annoying!” Ian est tristis.

Ian puellam _________. puella est _________. Ian puellam ________. Ian dicit, "O ______, salve! mihi ________ est Ian. _____ nomen tibi est? ______ dicit, "salve, Ian. mihi _______ est Go Away!" Ian _____ tristis. Ian aliam ________ videt. _____ est pulchra. Ian _______ amat. Ian ______, "O puella, salve! mihi nomen _____ Ian. quid ________ tibi est?" puella ______, "Salve, Ian. mihi nomen ______ You Are Annoying!" Ian est ________.

  1. By the time I do this activity, the class has gone through this story in 5-6 different ways over 3 days, so they are very familiar with it.
  2. Because the story uses limited amount of vocabulary, is comprehensible and has lots repetition of words/sentences, it is a very easy story for students to read and to internalize.
  3. I also project a picture illustrating the sentence to give another visual cue for students
  4. This is a very guided limited output activity, but due to the massive amounts of input and repetition through different activities, the output seems natural for students, i.e. internalization of the story occurrs, so this limited output is a natural overflow.
  5. I project one sentence at a time, so students do not feel overwhelmed by the length when they see it (even though we had gone over the story MANY times).
  6. I did this activity while I was being observed by a college student in a Latin teacher prepatory program. She was shocked at how easily my Latin 1 students were able to provide me with the missing Latin word aloud (and in the correct form), because having come from a more tradtional Latin program, she had never done/seen something like this before. I told her that this output was occurring not because I was using oral Latin in the classroom per se but because I was using CI.
  7. This is another great way to get in repetitions for all students. Even if a student is not able to respond, he/she is hearing and seeing the words used in a familiar (hopefully) context.
  8. If you try it and it does not work, a few things to consider:  
    • Problem: maybe you exposed them too early to this kind of output so internalization has not happened yet? Solution: go back and get in more repetitions of the story through various CI methods so that internalization can occur. Try it again and see if you get better results.
    • Problem: maybe the story itself is too difficult due to the amount of vocabulary, types of language structures, etc for this type of output? Solution: create an embedded reading of the story and scaffold it in a way that students can internalize the language slowly without having to make a big jump to output. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your post on this information! I just tried a cloze reading unsuccessfully with my students and your post has helped me see very clearly where I went wrong. My hope is that I could eventually use a passage like this as a summative assessment. I wonder how well it would work in that capacity, or if I might better use cloze passages as a class activity. So many thoughts!